Regional Champions

This time Florida State didn't let up. After blowing one lead in the first game of the day and almost doing the same Saturday against the Knights, the Seminoles left nothing to chance in the final innings of a 19-3 drubbing of UCF to take the Regional title.

This time Florida State didn't let up.

After squandering an early lead against Central Florida in the first game of the day and nearly doing the same Saturday, the Seminoles poured it on, razing the Knights 19-3 Sunday to take the Regional Championship.

FSU (45-21) will meet Arkansas in a best-of-three Super Regional next weekend in Fayetteville.

"Were excited," Seminole coach Mike Martin said. "But we know our goal is not yet accomplished. This is one of the most satisfying moments I've had in my 25 years (of coaching)."

The Knights forced the ‘if necessary' contest with a daring comeback in the late stages of the first game. After a 50-minute rain delay, Dee Brown's go-ahead homer to left and a pair of RBI doubles from Clay Timpner punctuated the UCF rally against Matt DiBlasi (0-1).

Brian Brooks picked up the victory, giving up one earned run in 5 1/3 innings of skillful relief.

But in the second game, the FSU offense (.228 combined average in the first three Regional games) awoke against the second flight of the UCF staff. Stephen Drew, who will likely be among the first picks of Monday's amateur draft, led the five-homer barrage against first time starter Brett Boardwine (0-1) with a pair of blasts.

"We just ran out of pitching, plain and simple," said UCF coach Jay Bergman, whose team was forced to play four games in just over 24 hours. "That's how important it is to stay out of the loser's bracket."

It was the fourth-inning landslide that buried the Knights' chances. Seven consecutive FSU hitters reached base after Bryan Zech's one-out homer, including four straight RBI singles. After Dennis Anderson struck out for the second time in the inning, Zech was denied a second homer when Brown made a leaping catch to bring the ball back into play.

The Seminoles scored four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings and pair in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

"We did a good job of putting the first game behind us," Zech said. "A loss was a loss and we knew we had to come out and get it done."

Drew - Regional co-MVP along with Zech - totaled three homers and a triple for the day, impressive given his 1-for-11 start to the weekend.

"It showed me he's able to adjust to what people are throwing up there," Martin said. "That's what I like to see –maturity in hitters. He's shown that all year."

Brian Shultz (7-1) picked up the victory, giving up three earned runs in seven innings. Matt Sauls contributed a career-high four hits for the Seminoles.

And the "ultimate goal"?

"I've been here three years and haven't been to Omaha," Drew said. "Maybe the third time's a charm."

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